Professor Emeritus Moretz Dies

Posted: March 23, 2010 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: March 23, 2010 at 8:08 am

Walter J. Moretz Jr., Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychology, passed away on Thursday, March 18, in Ferrum, Va. He was 77.

Moretz served at Mason from 1970 (when it was still George Mason College) to 2001, when he retired.

Moretz initially joined Mason as director of the Counseling and Psychological Services Center. He later joined the psychology faculty.

“My memories of Walt include the large number of individualized studies he did with undergraduates,” says Elyse Lehman, Professor Emerita of Psychology. “It was rare for him to take any of the course reductions to which he was entitled for supervising the individual studies. He usually gave the course reductions to other faculty. His passing is a great loss. He will be missed.”

Adds Bob Smith, professor of psychology, “It’s fair to say that his greatest passion was chatting with students and advising them.”

According to an obituary in the Hickory (N.C.) Daily Record, Moretz moved to Amherst, Va., after he retired and taught for several years as an adjunct faculty member in the psychology department at Liberty University.

Moretz had an AB from Lenoir Rhyne College, BD from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary and PhD from Florida State University. He was a pastor of two Lutheran churches before he turned to counseling and teaching.

He is survived by his wife, Karen; his daughter, Catherine, by his first wife, Sara Anne Phelps Moretz; four stepdaughters, Christine, Audrey, Caroline and Emilie;  15 grandchildren; a sister, Bettie Smolansky of Bethlehem, Pa.; and a brother, Rufus Moretz of Hickory, N.C.

A memorial service for Moretz was held at Trinity Episcopal Church in Rocky Mount, Va., on March 20.

Those who wish to remember Moretz are encouraged to make contributions to the Walter Moretz Undergraduate Psychology Scholarship Fund at Mason; the Building Fund at the Phoebe Needles Retreat and Conference Center in Callaway, Va.; or the Rector’s Discretionary Fund at Trinity Episcopal Church in Rocky Mount.

Thanks to Deborah Boehm-Davis, chair of the Psychology Department, for collecting much of this information.

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